Kaadina Makkalu

The Kaadina Makkalu Initiative is part of Black Baza Coffee, an “Activist Company” as it calls itself, based in Bangalore, South India. We are working with the Kaadina Makkalu initiative as part of our Holding the Key 2022 program.

Kaadina Makkalu translates to Children of the Forest. It is a new initiative that currently results in videos. They can be viewed publicly via the video platform YouTube. In the videos, coffee farmers talk about their daily work.

“Launching this YouTube channel was an important step in supporting biodiversity-friendly farming practices,
documenting and observing wildlife, and sharing these stories with people who are passionate about forests and nature,”
they write about the trailer for the YouTube channel.


Kaadina Makkalu is a storytelling tool that Black Baza Coffee uses to support coffee production and consumption for biodiversity conservation and social well-being, as well as safe and stable livelihoods.

Huge areas of forest around the world have been cleared and chemicals pumped into soil and water to grow coffee. The trade has exploited workers and producers along the value chain.

While global coffee companies thrive, producers have often been further impoverished, their autonomous livelihood security weakened.



The stories in the videos are told by indigenous coffee farmers. They are disseminated regionally but also globally. This makes Kaadina Makkalu an initiative that values storytelling by and about local community and documentation of indigenous ecological knowledge.

The collaboration between Lighthouse and Kaadina Makkalu aims to collect, discover, and name their valuable knowledge, as well as support their communication. The list of issues that Kaadina Makkalu addresses is long:

– coffee production and consumption for biodiversity conservation

– epistemic justice, knowing who to listen to, indigenous knowledge

– storytelling

– social well-being, safe and stable living conditions

– complex forms of organization

– their visionary, high-potential approach to integrating participatory action research into their way of doing business

As part of its Holding the Key 2022 program, Lighthouse conducted several online workshops with the co-founder of Kaadina Makkalu. These included positioning the initiative within the overall organizational structure of Black Baza Coffee and providing methodological advice on how a participatory workshop with all the people living in the coffee-growing regions can succeed. The aim was to gather insights into the conditions needed in the areas to maintain the complex local ecological structure.

Building on the results, further questions could be answered by the people and published in videos so that everyone can learn from the valuable knowledge about ecological relationships. What is special is that without the initiative and approach of Kaadina Makkalu, this knowledge would not be communicated beyond the local level and might even be lost. Lighthouse supports Kaadina Makkalu in spreading this knowledge by facilitating her channels, video production skills and translation into other languages.

In addition, Kaadina Makkalu uses the financial support from Lighthouse for more video productions “from the forest”, film screenings and the process of establishing social and ecological criteria for the coffee business from all the knowledge of the coffee farmers.